Traffic police officials and transportation experts say they believe the 30-second traffic signals at Mouchak and Malibagh intersections near the newly opened Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover is not nearly enough to prevent gridlock.
Road safety experts say “right turns” are one of the major reasons for tailback on Dhaka's streets. Flyovers facilitate ways for vehicles to turn right, and to regulate this traffic, signal points are installed at the start and the end of flyovers.
Two signal points have been installed on Mouchak and Malibagh intersections specifically for this reason. However, 30 seconds of signal is not enough for the vehicles to pass smoothly through the area.
Both intersections are now witnessing more gridlocks.
Traffic police officer Abul Qashem, who was on-duty at the Mouchak intersection, said: “The signal has been programmed with a 30-second window, but one minute would have been appropriate.
“The traffic that gathers in the intersection during the stop signal cannot pass through in just 30 seconds. During a busy weekday, vehicles regularly come to a halt at this intersection because of this reason.”
Replying to a question, Buet Professor Shamsul Haque said: “Flyovers are built to facilitate traffic signal-free movement of vehicles. But, we made a dubious example of installing traffic signals on a flyover."
He added: “The Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover was designed by a foreign firm that had little idea of how traffic control works in Bangladesh. We have a tendency to flout traffic rules at will, and the 30-second signal window is causing gridlock there.”
The transportation expert also pointed out that traffic police must now be deployed in the area because of the two signal points. But, they will not be on duty after 10pm, which could lead to road accidents caused by high speed vehicles entering and exiting the flyover.
On Friday, a day after the flyover's inauguration, traffic policmen were seen controlling traffic manually as the automated signals were of little use.
Also, even though there is a point at the Mouchak point of the flyover to allow a u-turn, police were seen preventing vehicles from using it, confusing many drivers.
Flyover project director and LGED Engineer Sushanta Kumar Pal said the implementation of a flyover project in areas like Malibagh and Mouchak was difficult.
"The traffic signal points were installed to ensure smooth traffic in those busy intersections. There was no other way around it," he said.
"We are observing them (the signals),” he added.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune